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Love at First Sight [MultiFormat]
eBook by Cardeno C.

eBook Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
eBook Description: Do you believe in love at first sight? Jonathan does: the moment he glimpsed the striking David from afar, he was hooked, but David disappeared before they could meet. More than three years later, Jonathan gets a second chance--he and David finally meet face to face, and the two fall into a passionate love affair. David turns Jonathan's previously lonely life into a fairy tale, giving him more than he ever imagined. But the past few years have been hard for Jonathan, and he's terrified that his young son and scandalous past will be too much for David. If they're going to build a future together, they're both going to have to dig deep: David for the courage to share himself in a way he's never considered? and Jonathan for the strength to tell the truth.

eBook Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspinner Press, Published: 2011, 2011
Fictionwise Release Date: August 2011

22 Reader Ratings:
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Chapter One

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Jonathan Doyle sure did. Oh, he knew it was silly and naive, but deep down he believed. He wanted to believe. Jonathan was a dyed-in-the-wool hopeless romantic. He always had been.

As a teenager, Jonathan spent hours watching old black-and-white movies on television. He was mesmerized by the chivalrous men holding doors open for their dates, taking their coats, pulling their chairs out, and all the rest of it. When other boys dreamt of growing up to be basketball players, rock stars, or firefighters, all Jonathan wanted was that head-over-heels, traditional love story. Well, almost traditional, because in his daydreams Jonathan--and not a woman--was the person sharing that endless love with Mr. Chivalrous. None of those old black-and-white movies covered that territory.

Though he was amiable and good-natured, Jonathan never could seem to keep things together. Somehow, no matter how hard he tried to stay out of trouble, trouble found him. He had a scar on the tip of his right elbow from the huge picture window he'd broken when he was learning to ride a bike and lost control. He'd put his father's car in drive instead of reverse when he was learning to drive and ended up taking down the neighbor's entire front fence and landing in their swimming pool. And, in an attempt to make his best friend happy, Jonathan had lost his virginity in a blaze of... disappointment and life-altering consequences.

"Is he looking at us now?"

Brown-haired, blue-eyed, petite Kathy McCallister twirled her curls around her finger and forced her eyes to remain glued to Jonathan even as her mind concentrated on her boyfriend, George Rodriguez, who was standing behind her and across the room. Technically, he had been her ex-boyfriend for about a month, but nobody thought the "ex" would stick for long. Jonathan had started to look over at George when Kathy regained his attention by clutching his arm and digging her nails into his skin.

"Don't look at George! He'll know we're talking about him."

Jonathan rubbed his sore skin and frowned at Kathy. He was frustrated with the conversation and the entire evening, frankly. Kathy was his best friend. Actually, she was one of his only friends. So he had joined her at a party to celebrate the end of high school, even though he was painfully shy and more than a little uncomfortable in social settings.

"I thought you just asked me if he was looking at us."

Kathy kept a fake smile plastered to her face, threw her head back and let out a loud laugh, then answered Jonathan's question in a whisper.

"I did ask you to tell me if he's looking at us. But you need to check without him noticing that you're checking, you know?"

Jonathan was frustrated, tired, and done with that party. He had no idea how to check whether Kathy's boyfriend was looking at them without, well, checking.

"Kath, I want to go home. I'm tired. Why don't you just talk to him? You've been with the guy since freshman year. Surely you can have a conversation with him."

At that very moment, a pretty sophomore approached George and stroked his arm as they spoke. Being across the room, Jonathan couldn't hear what they were saying, but when George put his arm around the girl and led her toward the door, some of Jonathan's shock must have shown on his face, because Kathy forgot all about checking without checking and spun around just in time to see her boyfriend leaving the party with another girl. Ex-boyfriend. Whatever.

"Oh, Kath, I... I'm sure there's a good explanation. Maybe he's...."

Damn. Jonathan had no idea how to end that sentence. He knew nothing about relationships and he didn't know much about George. Yeah, Kathy was Jonathan's friend and she'd been George's girlfriend for almost four years, but the two young men didn't have anything in common, so they rarely spent time together.

George was a popular athlete, social, friendly, and outgoing. Jonathan was quiet, kept to himself, and hoped to get through the day avoiding taunts from classmates. He often heard people mutter that he was weird or strange under their breath. Clumsy and uncoordinated were also fan favorites. But there was one genre of taunt they liked to use most of all: queer, fag, homo, and, on a good day, gay.

Those words had trailed Jonathan down the hallways at school and in the playground since middle school. He'd never been with another guy, never even outwardly expressed an interest in another guy. But it was true. Jonathan knew that it was true. He was terrified about how his family would feel about it, though, so he kept the information to himself.

"I can't believe he just left with that slut! That cheating asshole! I knew it! I just knew it."

Kathy was steaming mad, her fists clenched at her sides as she stomped her pink, glittery boots.

"Fine. He wants to play this game with me. I can find another guy too."

She flicked her long hair behind her shoulder and looked around the room with a determined glint in her eyes. Jonathan knew he had to stop her before she did something she'd regret.

"Kathy, come on. I'll take you home and you can call him and talk. Let's go."

As soon as she felt Jonathan's hand on her arm, Kathy turned on him. She opened her mouth to yell, but then her rage twisted into a frightening grin.

"Oh, this is just too perfect. Let's go, Jon."

Jonathan started walking toward the door, but Kathy grabbed his hand and hauled him in the opposite direction.

"Where are we going? Front door's that way, Kath." Jonathan pointed toward the exit.

"We're not leaving this party. We're going into the bedroom, we're leaving the door open a crack, and we're making enough damn noise that George's boys will be sure to tell him that he's not the only one who can have some extracurricular fun. Come on, Jonathan."

Ten minutes later it was over. Jonathan was lying on the guest room bed with his pants and underwear shoved down to his knees, but otherwise still completely dressed. He was even wearing his shoes. Kathy climbed off of him and pulled her underwear back on under her skirt. He came, so that should mean he'd enjoyed it, right? But he hadn't. Hell, Jonathan wasn't even sure what "it" was. Kathy had just pushed him down on the bed, ripped down his jeans and briefs, stroked his dick until it got hard, and rode him to completion.

"Pull your pants up, Jon. We can go now."

Kathy turned to him and looked at his face. Jonathan wasn't sure what she saw there, but for the first time, she seemed to realize that her advances might not have been welcome.

"Oh, shit. Are you okay, Jon? I didn't think you'd mind. I mean, you're a guy and everything. You're all about sex, right?"

He raised his hips, pulled his underwear and pants up, and sat on the bed, cross-legged. Then Jonathan looked at his friend, cleared his throat, and spoke in a whisper.

"I, umm, I've never done that before, Kathy."

He'd actually never done anything before. No sex, no hand jobs, not even a kiss. Well, the kiss hadn't happened with Kathy, but the rest was all brand-new.

She looked shocked. Probably because she'd been having sex since she was fourteen.


Understanding and then regret passed over her pretty face. She walked over to Jonathan, sat next to him on the bed, and put her hand on his knee.

"Jon, are you... I mean, ehm, those things they say, I thought it was just because you're so pretty, you know. But are you...."

Pretty? Guys aren't pretty. Yeah, he had delicate features, long eyelashes, and a slender build. But still.

"Hey, I don't look like a girl!"

Kathy giggled and looked down at her friend's lap.

"Oh, I know you're not a girl, Jonathan. I just experienced the evidence firsthand."

Jonathan chuckled.

"Yeah, no kidding. I think you just scared me gay, Kath."

Somehow that lightened the mood and Kathy laughed. Unshed tears glistened in her eyes.

"You're not mad at me?"

Was he mad? Jonathan thought about it. No, he couldn't be mad at Kathy. Hell, he had a hard time staying mad at anyone. He just didn't have it in him.

"Nah, I'm not mad. At least now I can say I've tried to screw myself straight. I'll add it to my list of failures. Like when I played Little League and didn't hit the ball a single time the entire season, even in practice. Or the time I entered the science fair in fifth grade and started a fire, so the sprinklers drenched everyone."

Kathy put a hand on each of her friend's cheeks and caught his eyes. Her voice was serious.

"Jonathan, there is nothing wrong with being gay. Nothing. Don't you dare call it a failure."

And that's just one reason she was his best friend. Even if she had just mauled him in their classmate's guest room.

"Do you think my parents will be disappointed in me?" Jonathan chewed on his bottom lip and played with a loose thread in his shirt. He didn't want to sound like a little kid, but he hated the idea of upsetting his parents. He hated the idea of upsetting anyone.

"Nope. I really don't think they'll be disappointed. If you want, I'll come over and sit with you when you tell them."

"Thanks, Kath. I'm not ready yet, but I'll let you know."

Kathy scooted off the bed and walked toward the open door.

"'K. Let's go, Jonny boy. We have to get up early tomorrow for the trip."

The next day Kathy's mother picked Jonathan up and dropped both of them off at the airport. Their theater teacher was taking the graduating seniors on a three-day trip to Broadway. Kathy had been the lead in a couple of plays and she'd played important characters in a few others. Jonathan had helped build sets.

New York was fun and Jonathan managed to steer relatively clear of trouble for almost the entire trip. On the last day, he and Kathy were sitting on the floor in her hotel room, trying to decide how to end their visit.

"We have a free morning for our last day, Jonathan. What do you wanna do? Maybe we can get into some of those crazy New York bars!"

Jonathan rolled his eyes and looked at the brochures of museums and monuments strewn all around him, flipping through each one in turn and studying it intently.

"Kathy, it's eight o'clock in the morning. Bars probably aren't open yet, even in New York. Besides, neither of us is old enough to get in."

Kathy pouted and opened her mouth to answer when they both heard Miranda Lambert's "Kerosene" playing from across the room.

Well, I'm giving up on love, hey, love's given up on me.

Jonathan raised his eyebrows at Kathy. "You changed George's ringtone?"

She flushed. "Why's the asshole calling me?"

Jonathan gave her an understanding smile. "He's not an asshole, Kath. And you still love him. I'll go see the Statute of Liberty and give you some privacy so you two can talk."

Kathy didn't argue. She stalked over to her phone and looked at it like a snake that might bite her. After a few seconds, she steeled her body, put on her toughest frown, and answered.

"Wadda you want?"

Jonathan walked out of the room with a few brochures clutched in his hand and waited until the door was closed before he started laughing. He didn't understand what had been going on between his friend and her boyfriend, but he knew George loved her. Frankly, he was surprised it had taken this long for the guy to call. The only question now was how long Kathy would make him suffer before she'd let him off the hook for whatever it was he'd done wrong.

Jonathan stepped out of the hotel and made his way through the crowded New York streets. That's when his life turned upside down. Well, technically, his body turned upside down when he tripped walking down the stairs to the subway. He wasn't seriously injured, but he had sprained his wrist, so the paramedics took him to the hospital for an X-ray. The doctor confirmed that nothing was broken, put Jonathan's wrist in a brace, and discharged him.

Because he was already eighteen and legally an adult, the hospital didn't need to call anybody before treating Jonathan, but he didn't want his teacher to worry, so he called her to explain where he was. Once the sling was in place, he got into the elevator to make his way out of the hospital and back to the hotel. No surprise here, he hit the wrong button and got off on the wrong floor. By the time he realized he was in the maternity wing instead of the lobby, Jonathan was standing in front of the baby nursery, mesmerized by a man behind the glass.

The man was wearing one of those blue hospital-issued covers over his street clothes and was sitting in a rocker, holding a tiny baby wrapped in a blue-and-pink-striped blanket. His hair was a deep black color, his skin fair, and his eyes... wow those, eyes. They were beautiful, a sparkling navy-blue color that Jonathan had never before seen, never even imagined. Jonathan felt like he could drown in those eyes.

Jonathan was frozen in the hospital hallway, staring at the gorgeous man. He couldn't hear through the glass, but it looked like the man was singing to the baby he was rocking. And there were tears streaming down that perfect, chiseled face. Jonathan wanted to walk over to the blue-eyed man, crawl into his lap, and wipe away his tears. He wanted to feel that soft black hair, lay his head on that broad chest, and hear the man's heart beat. He wanted to take care of that man so he'd never cry again. Time stood still as Jonathan saw his future with the blue-eyed man behind the nursery window.

"Jonathan Doyle! There you are."

Jonathan turned his head toward the elevator and saw his teacher racing toward him in a panic.

"You said you were coming right back to the hotel. When you didn't arrive, I called the hospital, and they said you'd been discharged hours ago. Thank goodness you're okay. What did you get yourself into this time, dear?"

His teacher looked at his arm and touched the sling tenderly. Jonathan looked up at the clock on the hospital wall and realized that three hours had passed. It'd felt like only a few seconds, but he'd been staring at his dream man for over three hours. When he looked back through the nursery window, the man was gone. It was like he had vanished into thin air. Jonathan's heart stung with the loss, and he had trouble getting air into his lungs. Forcing himself to calm down, he answered his teacher.

"Oh, sorry, Mrs. Burns. I didn't mean to worry you. I got off on the wrong floor and I lost track of time."

"It's okay, dear. I understand."

Mrs. Burns had known Jonathan since he was a freshman, so she no longer asked questions when he got himself into yet another predicament. She just took his uninjured arm and walked him into the elevator, out of the hospital, and to a cab waiting outside.

"Kathy packed your bag, Jonathan. We need to go straight to the airport to make our flight."

He nodded, but all he could think about was that man. The one behind the nursery glass. The man with those amazing navy-blue eyes.

By the time Jonathan got back home to Emile City, he'd come up with some justification for why he should move to New York after graduation. His reasoning had something to do with finding his life's calling in the city where anything was possible, exploring the music scene, because Jonathan loved music. Who cares? It was baloney and Jonathan knew it. He had no calling. He'd never had an interest in any particular thing. He'd always been decidedly average in every subject and every activity.

The truth was, Jonathan wanted to move to New York because that's where he lived. Jonathan wanted to meet him. He needed to know him. That lovely, striking man with the navy-blue eyes. That very clearly straight man who had just had a baby. The man whom Jonathan had fallen in love with at first sight.

* * * *

Chapter Two

After graduation the following week, Jonathan packed up his belongings, gathered the money he'd saved working at his family's restaurant, and left for his new life in New York City. He got a room in a cheap hostel and found a job washing dishes. Between work and his attempts to find his dream man, Jonathan was exhausted. On the plus side, he was too tired to be depressed about the fact that he hadn't seen him and really didn't know where to find him--the lovely man with the intense blue eyes whose image was burned into Jonathan's mind. The downside was that Jonathan was lonely. Deeply lonely.

Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months, but no matter how hard he looked, Jonathan never could find that man. As with everything else in his life, Jonathan's plan of finding Mr. Right and riding off into the sunset together didn't quite work out. And then he managed to mess things up even further.

It started with a telephone call in the middle of the night.


Her voice was barely a whisper, but Jonathan still recognized it.

"Yeah, Kathy. What's wrong?"

He tried to rub the sleep from his eyes with his free hand while he sat up on the thin mattress, winced when a spring poked his leg, then leaned back against the crumbling wall. A quick glance at his alarm clock told him it was almost midnight. Why would Kathy be calling?

"Did something happen with George again?"

Kathy and George had gotten back together about a month earlier. He'd enlisted in the army and shown up at Kathy's door with an engagement ring. She'd accepted. Jonathan hadn't ever figured out what'd caused their breakup in the first place.

"No, George is fine. We're good."

There was an eerie silence on the line and then the whispered voice again.

"Jonathan, I'm so sorry. It's all my fault. I didn't mean to, but... shit, this is hard."

"Kathy? Are you okay? What's going on?"

A long sigh and then, "I'm pregnant and you're the father."

Now it was Jonathan's turn to be silent. His mouth dropped open and his brain froze.

"Shit. I'm sorry, Jonathan. That wasn't how I planned to tell you. I was going to work up to it, but then I figured maybe the Band-Aid method was best. You know, just rip it off."

Still no response from Jonathan. His brain was waking up and just starting to process the enormity of what Kathy was telling him.

"Look, you don't need to do anything. I was an idiot and I didn't even think about what was happening until I went to the doctor for my annual and she asked me when my last period was. I peed on a stick and voila! Baby on the way. George and I are getting married, and we're moving to Kentucky for his basic training. He doesn't want to take another man's baby with him, which I totally understand. Too late to do anything about it now, though, so I'm giving it up for adoption. Anyway, I'll send you some paperwork, you sign it, and in about four months we can forget any of this ever happened."

That entire speech was given in about thirty seconds, which was about as long as Kathy gave him to react.

"Jonathan? Say something."

His mouth was still hanging open but no words were coming out.

"Look, Jonathan, I know you're there. I can hear you breathing."

Really? He was still breathing? Well, that was a good sign. He cleared his throat and managed to push a few words out.

"I need to think about this, Kathy."

"Yeah, I know. It'll take time for the stuff to get to you anyway. There are lots of papers, and I don't have them electronically, so I'll need to use snail mail. What's your address?"

Jonathan tried to be clearer.

"That's not what I meant. Kathy, I need to think about whether or not I'm willing to give the baby up for adoption. I... I don't know if I can do that."

A loud sigh from Kathy followed by long, awkward moments of silence stretched between them.

"If you keep the baby, Jonathan, it'll be on your own. I'm relinquishing my rights. That's what they call it when you sign these papers. It'll be like I'm not the mother at all. I'm sorry. I know it sounds heartless, but that whole night was a stupid mistake. George is my life. We're getting married. We're going to have our own children. And he doesn't want a kid around to remind him of that time."

"I understand, Kath. I don't blame George. And I don't think you're heartless. I just need a little time to process all of this."

It's funny, but when Jonathan hung up the phone, the anxiety and heartbreak that filled him had nothing to do with a fear that he'd disappoint his parents or that he was too young and unsettled to have a baby. No. The only thing on Jonathan's mind was that those beautiful navy-blue eyes would never be his.

Finding the man from the hospital had been a long shot, and he probably wasn't gay anyway, or, if he was, he was probably already with someone else. But a guy with a baby.... Who'd want that? It was the final nail in the coffin, burying any hope Jonathan had of connecting with his dream guy.

It was that loss and sorrow, mixed with the ever-present loneliness that had surrounded Jonathan since he'd moved to New York--or, if he were really being honest, the loneliness that had been with him his entire life--that motivated him to throw on some clothes, leave the seedy hostel, and walk into the first gay bar he could find. He hadn't been in the place two minutes when a decent-looking, if smarmy, guy strutted up.

"I'm Ray and you're beautiful."

That kind of cheesiness should make a person want to vomit. But Jonathan, who hadn't ever understood how exceptionally attractive he was, felt flattered that someone would think he was worth a second look, let alone a conversation, so he talked with Ray. After twenty minutes, Ray invited Jonathan to his place so they could talk in a quieter setting. It seems like a really obvious line, right? Well, Jonathan didn't catch it.

Jonathan couldn't figure out what happened after he got to Ray's apartment. It was all a blur of loneliness and sadness over losing hope of ever being with him. And it felt so good to have a man touch him, rub him, and want him. So Jonathan just went with it. He had been waiting for so long, or at least that's how it seemed to his eighteen-year-old mind. He was tired of being lonely, he hadn't found the man with the navy-blue eyes, and the dream man would never want him now anyway.

So Jonathan had sex with the stranger. Even without kisses and words of devotion, the act itself felt good. At least, the during part felt good. But after they were done, Ray hurried Jonathan out the door without even bothering to come up with an excuse. Then he didn't call Jonathan for several days, and when he finally did, it wasn't to ask for a date.

"I need you to come over. Remember where I live?"

Jonathan wanted to refuse the offer, but Ray was insistent and Jonathan didn't want to upset him. He knocked on the door to Ray's apartment, knowing he'd been invited over for nothing more than a quick fuck. He wasn't kidding himself that there could ever actually be more between them. The thing was, Jonathan didn't care anymore. It seemed that his life was over as it was; he was never going to have the fairy tale. He'd have to explain being gay and being a single-unwed-teenage-father to his parents. And he'd never be with him, so he might as well have sex with Ray. At least that let him feel something other than emptiness and despair. For the moment, anyway.

"Hey, James."

Ray's slick smile greeted Jonathan and his stomach heaved.

"It's Jonathan."

"Right. Jonathan. Whatever. Come on in."

Jonathan thought about turning around and going back to the hostel. What was he doing there? But he didn't want to be rude, so he followed Ray into the tiny apartment.

"I have exciting news! Sit down on the couch."

Jonathan shuffled over to the stained couch and furrowed his brow in confusion as Ray sat next to him with a laptop, pressed a few buttons, and pointed at the screen. There they were, naked as the day they were born, Jonathan on his hands and knees and Ray behind him.

"You... you filmed us having sex?!"

"Yeah, I thought it would be just for me later. But I showed it to my buddy and he noticed how hot you are so he said he'd pay us for it. I just need you to sign a release. Easiest way to make a hundred bucks ever!"

Jonathan was appalled. He wasn't sure if it was with himself or with Ray.

"No! I can't do that. What if someone I know finds out? What if my parents see it?"

Ray rolled his eyes.

"Oh, come on. Are your parents into amateur gay porn? How would they ever find out? We'll just make up a name for you and tell my buddy to use that for the movie. No harm, no foul."

"I...." Jonathan shook his head furiously and tried to get control over his emotions and the situation. This was bad. Really, really bad. "Ray, I can't do that."

Ray's excitement turned to anger and he scowled at Jonathan.

"Look, you might be some rich kid, but I need the money. I'll give you a hundred and fifty. That's half, so I don't even get paid for doing all the filming work."

Right, because hiding a camera in his bedroom consisted of work. Jonathan knew that agreeing with Ray was a bad idea, but he couldn't bring himself to fight with the bigger, older, more confident man. So when Ray handed him a pen and shoved the release at him, Jonathan reluctantly signed it.

"You'll make up a fake name?"

Ray walked across the room to get his phone.

"Yeah, sure. We'll use your porn name. What is it?"

"My porn name?"

An annoyed eye roll from Ray.

"Yeah, you know, your middle name and the name of your first pet. Your porn name."

Did everyone know that? Was Jonathan really that socially inept? Probably.

"Umm. My middle name is William. And my first pet was a blue bird named Dragon."

Ray pressed the buttons on his phone, paying only minimal attention to what Jonathan was saying.

"Great. Will Dragon. Perfect porn name."

He held his pointer finger up in the air and concentrated on the phone.

"Hey, man. He signed the paper. When can we get our check?" A pause while Ray nodded his head toward nobody in particular. "Cool. We're here now. I'll just tell him to wait."

He ended the call and turned to Jonathan.

"Wait here and we'll get our money."

Jonathan wanted to leave. Yeah, he could use a hundred and fifty dollars, especially with the whole fatherhood thing hanging over him. But his gut told him to cut his losses and walk away. He got up from the couch.

"I'm just going to take off, Ray. I'll call you about the money later."

Not that he had Ray's number. That had been a one-way exchange. Didn't matter. He wanted to leave that apartment and pretend he'd never met Ray.

"No, don't go. My buddy said that he wants to talk to you. Just hang out for a few. He's right down the street."

Ray was so insistent and really, what did Jonathan's gut know? Wasn't it his gut that'd told him the blue-eyed man was the one? It now seemed pretty clear what a flop that was. So Jonathan relented in the face of Ray's demand that he stay and wait. He sat back down on the couch.

"Oh, okay."

What could it hurt to meet his friend? Jonathan thought, as he nervously tapped his foot and chewed on his bottom lip.

An hour later, Jonathan had met Ray's friend and agreed to take part in another movie. Higher production values this time, good money. He was out of the apartment and in some makeshift studio, stripped and lying on his back with his ankles pinned by his ears before he knew what'd happened.

Somehow, having sex with some stranger while a few other guys stood around and filmed it wasn't any worse than having sex with Ray. The act still felt good. Jonathan couldn't deny how much he enjoyed getting fucked. And if he had to shut down his heart and force his brain to stop thinking, well, he could do that. Or at least he could try.

After that day, agreeing to have sex on camera didn't seem to matter. He'd already done it once, what did twice matter? Or three times? Or four? He'd been in bed with one guy, what did two guys matter? Or three? Or more?

Two months later, Jonathan was almost numb. He'd quit his job at the restaurant and had stopped spending his days looking for Mr. Right, knowing that the blue-eyed man wouldn't want him anyway. Instead, he devoted his time to having sex with strangers while other strangers filmed him. And he hated himself for finding some enjoyment in the act, in spite of the fact that he knew it was an empty life.

Then one day, in what he considered to be the first stroke of luck in his entire existence, Jonathan was at work, hanging in a sling, surrounded by men taking turns with his mouth and his ass, when a loud noise startled everyone. Police officers invaded the studio space, and Jonathan didn't even grimace as they looked at his cum-covered body in disgust. Typical, he thought. Of course a bunch of alpha males would barge in at just that moment.

Jonathan closed his eyes to shut out the sneers and smirks surrounding him. There was no way to ignore some of the nasty comments directed his way, but really, Jonathan didn't expect anything else. Just one more way he'd managed to embarrass himself. At least he hadn't been doing anything illegal. Wait, making those movies wasn't illegal, was it?

* * * *

Chapter Three

When Jonathan opened his eyes, there was a gorgeous guy towering over him. Piercing green eyes studied him from a fierce but strikingly handsome face, topping off what had to be one of the best bodies Jonathan had ever seen. Jonathan scrambled out of the sling and found a bathroom. He was wiping the last bit of cum from his hair when Officer Hottie walked in and dropped a pile of clothes on the floor.

"Get dressed and then we can talk. What's your name, bud?"

Oh, no! Jonathan panicked. If he gave his name to a police officer, it'd all be official and his parents were bound to find out.

"Will Dragon?"

Maybe he'd buy it. It sort of sounded like a regular name. And it was the one listed on all the movies.

"Give me a break. I want your real name."

Darn. Well, Jonathan hadn't actually thought that'd work. He sighed and slumped his shoulders.

"Jonathan. My name is Jonathan Doyle."

Instead of writing down his name and handcuffing him or something, the police officer smiled and wrapped his arm protectively around Jonathan's shoulder.

"Nice to meet you, Jonathan. I'm Detective Owens. Get dressed and I'm going to buy you lunch as an apology for that asshole's behavior."

Jonathan was confused. What asshole? The other police officer? Sure, he hadn't been very nice. Well, he'd been rude, if Jonathan were being honest, but so what? It wasn't as if it was the first time a guy had made fun of him, and it surely wouldn't be the last.

"Cops aren't the bad guys, bud. I'll wait for you out here."

As Jonathan slipped on his pants and shrugged into his shirt, he wondered what the detective wanted from him. He clearly wasn't gay, so it couldn't be sex. Oh well, lunch sounded good. Jonathan hadn't eaten anything all day.

As it turned out, Jonathan got a lot more than lunch from Detective Owens. The gorgeous guy was a great listener. Jonathan told him how long he'd lived in New York, why he'd moved there, how long he'd been doing porn, and that he was about to become a father. It felt good to talk to someone who really listened and didn't seem to judge. Jonathan was so comfortable with Detective Owens that, when he offered to help Jonathan get his life together and become a person worthy of the baby on the way, Jonathan took him up on the offer. The first step was to stop working for the studio, because whether he liked it or not, he was going to be a father.

After Samuel was born, Jonathan spent a week in Emile City. His parents practically begged him to stay, but Jonathan was reinspired to follow his dream and find the man with the navy-blue eyes. So he returned to New York City, with his son in tow and renewed hope that he'd find his soul mate.

His life was different than the previous time he'd embarked on this journey. The loneliness was still there, but it was no longer tinged by recklessness. He'd finally caught a break--he had a son, a wonderful, beautiful son whom Jonathan adored. And he was good at something for the first time in his life. He was a good father. Everyone who saw Jonathan with Sam said so. And the smile on his baby's face whenever his papa walked into the room didn't lie.

So Jonathan worked hard--with his clothes on--and raised his boy. And he resurrected his search for the one. He also made himself follow certain rules. He didn't go to bars to meet men. Women and men alike often tried to pick him up, but he refused to go home with a guy he'd just met. And he refused to have sex with someone just because he fed Jonathan a good line and a temporary cure for loneliness. Jonathan was waiting for Mr. Right, and whenever he imagined him and their perfect, romantic life together, Mr. Right had those beautiful navy-blue eyes that Jonathan had seen through the hospital nursery window.

Almost three years later, Jonathan was ready to give up. He was tired of being alone. He had left his family to move across the country, hoping to find his soul mate, and instead he'd had a short stint as an adult film actor followed by two and a half years of celibacy. It seemed like there was no point. Jonathan figured that if he was going to be alone anyway, he might as well go home, where he and Samuel had family. And if he packed up their meager belongings soon, he'd be back in time for Thanksgiving.

So Jonathan moved himself and Sam back to Emile City, and into his old bedroom in his parents' house. He promised himself and his folks that it was only temporary, that he'd move out as soon as he saved a little money. The best way to do that was to go back to his old job, working in the kitchen of his family's restaurant, so that's what he did. And just like that, Jonathan was settled into an only slightly less lonely life. Oh well... at least his son was around family. That was an improvement over New York.

On the evening of his twenty-second birthday, Jonathan's parents offered to babysit Sam so he could go out with friends to celebrate.

"We'll watch Samuel tonight, honey. You haven't had a night to yourself in years. Go on and have a good time and let us be grandparents. You can use my car."

Jonathan's mom dangled her car keys in front of him. Her warm voice was laced with concern. She could tell her son wasn't happy, not deep down, and that he hadn't been for a long time. But she didn't know how to help.

He didn't want to worry his parents and he didn't have the heart to tell them that he didn't have any friends, so Jonathan borrowed their car and drove to downtown EC West. It was a part of town he'd always enjoyed, full of big trees, brick sidewalks, and same-sex couples walking around holding hands. Being there gave Jonathan hope that someday he could be that lucky. That maybe he wouldn't always be alone.

He wandered through some shops to kill time, but he didn't have any spare money to spend, so that didn't last long. Then Jonathan walked by a red brick building with a hand-stenciled sign reading "Where Cowboys Dream." He hadn't been in a bar since that fateful night in New York, but something in Jonathan's gut, or maybe it was his heart, told him to go inside. That gut had been quiet since he'd ignored it that tragic day in New York when he'd embarked on his former "career," so Jonathan thought maybe this time he should listen.

The bar was quaint and comfortable. It had exposed brick walls, thick drapes, and old leather benches. Jonathan slipped off his coat, slid into a well-worn booth, and ran his hands over the wood table, taking in the ridges and scars. There was something remarkably calming about that table, or maybe it was the whole bar. A sense of peace settled over Jonathan that he hadn't felt since that day in the hospital when he'd lost time staring through the nursery glass.

"Hey there. Thought you looked like you could use a drink. I'm Nick."

Jonathan looked up to see a tall man with a ridiculously broad chest trying to rip its way out of a too-tight shirt suspended over toothpick legs. The man pushed a beer in front of Jonathan and then squeezed himself into the booth. He scooted in right next to Jonathan and left no room for personal space. Jonathan moved his body as far as he could toward the wall.

"Oh, umm, thank you. I'm Jonathan."

Jonathan held out his hand, creating a small space between their bodies. He hoped Nick would take the hint and stay on his side of the bench.

"Jonathan, huh? Fine."

He smirked as he said it, which Jonathan didn't understand. The whole situation was making him nervous, so he picked up the beer, raised it to his mouth, and drank it down. The taste was bitter and unfamiliar, but at least it occupied him for a few minutes. Jonathan noticed Nick's heated eyes on his body and fidgeted uncomfortably.

"Look, umm, thanks for the beer, but I'm not, umm...."

Wow. What could he say to get rid of the guy without hurting his feelings? Jonathan felt slightly panicked from being pinned in that booth, and his face reddened with anxiety.

Nick rubbed his hand roughly up and down Jonathan's arm, then moved down to his knee, his thigh, and crept higher. Jonathan clutched Nick's hand, stopping the upward trajectory.

"Please don't. Look, I don't know you and I have no interest in, umm, fooling around with you. I don't do this, umm, don't do pickups, okay? I'm sort of waiting for a certain guy."

That didn't work.

"Yeah, right!" Nick laughed and kept touching Jonathan.

Never having enjoyed conflict and feeling deeply uncomfortable in the face of the persistence Nick was exhibiting, Jonathan had to gather all his inner strength just to plant his hands on Nick's chest and push forward, hoping Nick would move so he could get out of the booth. That's when things really turned ugly. Nick wouldn't budge. He glared at Jonathan and hissed under his breath in a menacing voice.

"Oh come on, Will Dragon." Jonathan's mouth dropped open in shock, but Nick was completely undeterred, and kept taunting him. "That's right, I know who you are. Don't be such a cock tease! We both know what you want." Nick grabbed his own dick and crudely shook it through his pants at Jonathan. "And I can give it to you."

Jonathan's arms dropped from Nick's chest down to his sides. He sat, paralyzed, in the booth, blinking back tears at the realization that his old life in New York had caught up with him at home in Emile City. Would his parents find out? Would they be as disappointed with him as he'd become with himself? Nick took advantage of Jonathan's frazzled state and moved his hand back into Jonathan's lap. Jonathan gasped and once again tried unsuccessfully to push the larger man back. Suddenly, someone came over and hauled Nick away from the table and onto his feet.

"I think the gentleman said no. We all heard him and none of us were as close to his face as you. Now get the hell out of this bar and don't come back, asshole!"

The voice was deep and strong. It made Jonathan's skin shiver, and he could feel goose bumps running up his spine. Jonathan couldn't see his hero's face because his back was turned, but Jonathan was still enjoying the view. The man was taller than Jonathan's five foot ten inches by about five inches. He had silky black hair and a broad, muscular build with shoulders that were at least twice as wide as Jonathan's. He was wearing a collared shirt under a thin sweater and dark jeans that showed off his thick legs and firm ass.

Jonathan started fantasizing about what that body would look like naked, wrapped around his own, how it'd feel to be surrounded by all that muscle and strength, when he was interrupted by the sound of Nick screaming obscenities.

"Fuck off, man. I saw him first and I can handle him just fine. Mind your own business!"

"It's my bar, so this is my business. You need to leave right now."

The voice was calm but laced with steel. None of that registered with Nick, who ignored the command and, instead of leaving, took a swing at the guy who'd helped Jonathan. Jonathan got up to try to defuse the situation, but that was a mistake. Nick spun around and hissed at him.

"Come here, Will Dragon." He sneered as he spat out the painfully resurrected name into Jonathan's ear. "I bought you a drink. I saw you eyeing my package. Don't act like you don't want this. You're coming with me."

Nick reached over to seize Jonathan's arm but the tall, dark-haired man stepped in, blocked his reach, and shoved Nick away. He was incredibly strong, which made Jonathan's dick take interest.

"Get out of my bar. NOW!"

And with that, Jonathan's protector took Nick's arm, twisted it behind his back, and pushed him out the door. Jonathan was startled, a little drunk from having consumed the first beer in his life in a matter of minutes, and distracted by the sexy, dark-haired hero, but he was holding it together pretty well. He got up to thank his savior as he walked back to the table. That's when Jonathan saw the face attached to that gorgeous body for the first time.

Oh my God, those eyes. Those navy-blue eyes.

"Are you alright, buddy? He didn't hurt you, did he?"

"It's you," Jonathan muttered as he fell to the floor.

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